Monday, 23 August 2010

WooHoo I am on Holiday

We are off to hopefully sunnier beaches and lots of Cornish pasties be back soon!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sugar and Spice and Also Home Nice

For me Christmas is a very special time, I still get that buzz of excitement, visit Christmas markets and fetes and love all the sights sounds and scents that are truly all part of the festive occasion.

I adore mulled wine, mince pies, they all have great fragrance and I make my own just to have the house filled with the aromas. Well OK to get fat on the mince pies and mulled wine.

One other thing I love is bundles of cinnamon sicks and home dried baked orange slices.

Cinnamon is definitely a scent most people associate with Christmas and these gifts will certainly bring the Christmassy scent into your home and food.

The perfect stocking filler or simply to decorate the home this Christmas, ALSO Home’s delightful scented Cinnamon Boxes are ethically sourced and hand-crafted. The fragrant cinnamon bark used to make these boxes lightly fragrances the contents over time, making them perfect for storing sugar for use in coffee, baking or desserts, or simply placing on a mantelpiece or shelf to allow the gentle, spiced aroma to fragrance a room or cupboard.

Made in central Vietnam by skilled craftspeople, using sustainably harvested cinnamon bark of the region, the lidded boxes are available in two shapes; square and round.

Round measures 9 x 8cm, £10

Square measures 9 x 8cm, £10

Hmmmm Christmas I  can't wait

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

New Shoes for me, courtesy of Sarenza and Retro Chick

I am in shoe heaven right now, I was the lucky winner of Retro Chick's and Sarenza's Win Free shoes competition.

She had to choose from the five finalists chosen by Sarenza after they looked at 184 entries!!

I wrote a poem and it took me a good while, I am rather pleased with it and more than pleased when I found out I had won. Also delighted to see it framed on the  RETRO CHICK website  she allowed me to post it here in its pretty frame that she so cleverly made.

She said

For making me laugh, services to poetry and unashamed sucking up, the £60 Sarenza shoe voucher goes to….

Jo Bryan of Given to Distracting Others!

I will have a great time choosing my new shoes and I will post a picture of them soon.

Just also wanted to point you to the Retro Chic Blog. Gemma has entertained, made me think (her clothes sizing post) yearn for years goneby, the clothes the smart dress (my idol being Audrey Hepburn),  picnics by the river and also showed innate dressingand true vintage style.
You will love her retro blog for its charm and fun!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Jordans New Apple, Sultana & Cinnamon Frusli Bars

Jordans and I go back a long way, the flour mill where it all started in Biggleswade is not far from me, I pass it often, my best friends husband did work experience there back in the early 80's and I have been buying Jordans for decades now it seems and remember some of the first gorgeous cereals to come out from the site.

It was a rare thing twenty years ago to find natural foods, but with Jordans I at least had my breakfasts sorted out, good muesli's and my favourite Crunchy Oats.

Did you know? Jordans nature friendly farmers dedicate 10% of their land to wildlife where bees, birds and butterflies can thrive. Look for the Conservation Grade ® logo on the pack and rest assured you’re doing your bit for British wildlife.

I love the whole conservation  too, I have a mini wildlife pond and my patch of bee friendly flowers, one or two courtesy of Jordans offer last year, but nothing on the scale of Pensthorpe Nature Reserve still on my wish list of places to visit.

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve is owned by Bill Jordan, founder and owner of W. Jordan (Cereals) Ltd, and his wife Deb Jordan. When Mr Jordan, purchased the reserve in 2003 it was a natural extension of his lifetime commitment to forging a direct link between nature conservation and the creation of healthy foods through wildlife-friendly farming techniques.

OK sorry for going on when the main reason for this feature is the Jordan's New Apple, Sultan& Cinnamon Frusli Bars.

I was sent a box of six to try and am having a job not eating all six in one sitting. Jordans description below for them is:

Jordans Frusli Bars are gently baked using the best quality ingredients, including wholesome wholegrain oats grown on British nature friendly farms.
Thanks to the delicious blend of juicy fruits and wholegrain cereals, Frusli bars give you lasting energy. So no matter where you are or whatever you are doing Frusli bars are the perfect energy boost so you won’t run out of steam.

But what makes Jordans Frusli bars so utterly delicious is the generous serving of fruit baked into each bar – our special recipes mean our Frusli bars contain at least 25% fruit – far more than your average cereal bar.
As with all our Frusli bars we carefully select succulent fruit pieces, mix with wholegrain oat flakes and for our new Apple & Sultana bars we add a hint of cinnamon, to produce a moist, tasty and chewy bar that’s hard to resist

No artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives or GM ingredients

Source of fibre

Suitable for vegetarians

Wholegrain Goodness
OK my description, they are a lovely golden colour, you can see the juicy sultanas and golden oats, I could smell the apple and cinnamon as I opened the wrapper. The bar is very fresh looking and sort of sticky. It does not appear healthy, but a look at the nutritional info tells me its 111 calories per bar, low fat and therefore good for me, it somehow does not seem possible as I take that first bite.
They taste as they smell, apply and fruity, really juicy sultanas blend with apple flavour and cinnamon, its texture is like a home baked flapjack not dry but a lovely sticky fruit filled one.
 Very chewy, sweet and utterly moreish!

These will be a great on the go food, I cannot always face breakfast in the week, so these will suit me well, Conor and Paige will enjoy the new flavour for pack ups when back at school, but nicest thing about these when you get the craving for something tasty but not wanting expanding waistlines these will be perfect.

Now all I need to do is hide the rest.

NEW Frusli Apple, Sultana & Cinnamon is simply bursting with fruit and is available at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose stores nationwide, RRP £1.79. The rest of the Frusli range includes Raisin & Hazelnut, Blueberry, Red Berries, Cranberry & Apple and Pineapple & Papaya.

Heinz Salad Cream with Lemon and Black Pepper

When I read this I was happy

For the very first time in its 96 year history, Heinz is launching a zesty, new flavour variety of Heinz Salad Cream - Lemon & Black Pepper. The launch of the new limited edition Heinz Salad Cream with Lemon & Black Pepper blends the freshness of lemon and the bite of black pepper with the great taste of this British favourite.Heinz Salad Cream with Lemon & Black Pepper goes especially well with chicken or fish.

So many brands have added new ranges, limited editions of existing flavours, some work , some don't.

My theory has always been leave my favorites alone, I love salt and vinegar crisps, I do not want a full English breakfast flavour or cheeseburger.

Heinz Salad Cream is just such a product for me, its iconic, British, traditional (I am starting to sound like Al Murray as the Pub Landlord, with distaste for anything not British)
I love the familiar taste, a childhood memory of my Granny's tomatoes and cucumbers picked from the greenhouse, proper Webb's lettuce and ham carved from the bone with lashings of Heinz Salad Cream poured over the lettuce as I never really was that fond.

So to bring out a new limited edition was a surprise and after tasting it the only thing I can say is ..Why  has it taken so long?

Invented in 1914, Heinz Salad Cream was the first Heinz product to be developed specifically to cater for British tastes, and has been a much loved addition to our tables throughout the years. Unaltered since its creation, the launch of the new limited edition Heinz Salad Cream with Lemon & Black Pepper is a real first for this classic brand.

The new flavour is the brainchild of Heinz Salad Cream Senior Brand Manager Lynsey Hurst, who came up with the idea whilst making a sandwich on a quiet night in. Experimenting by stirring a squeeze of lemon and a twist of black pepper into some Heinz Salad Cream, she gave the sauce a tangy freshness she really liked. Excited by her creation, the next day she brought it to the office for everyone to try. Less than a year later Lynsey is bringing the unique new taste direct from her kitchen to supermarket shelves everywhere for fans to enjoy.

Hurst comments: ‘Lemon and black pepper is a classic and delicious combination. We believe the addition of these ingredients is a perfect way of bringing a new twist to a much-loved British favourite.’

I would like to hug Lynsey Hurst lots, as you will know if you read any of my other reviews I adore citrus flavours and fragrance, to eat, wash with, put on my skin and hair, so Lynsey could not have picked a better flavour to experiment with for me!

I tried it first with scampi and chips and I was bowled over, its an instant zing of lemon, fresh, tingly and very full on lemon flavour, the peppery fire just makes it really warm.
Conor may have to go as he keeps pinching it to put on salad sandwiches, I have caught Chris sneaking into the fridge too.

I am also keen to try out the recipes given by Heinz on their site
One in particular
 Creamy Lemon Chicken

I have one criticism though. Heinz Salad Cream with Lemon and Cracked Pepper is a limited edition and only will be around for a short time...Noooooooooooooooooooo!
This is far too good to only have for a short while, I looked at the sell by date on my bottle, its for a year so I can stockpile for a while, hoping that Heinz will take pity on me.  Please Heinz Sald Cream it needs to stay with us forever!

Heinz Salad Cream Lemon and Black Pepper will be available in all major supermarkets for a limited time only, from September 2010 - don’t miss out!

You will if I get to the shops first!
RRP: £1.15 - 295g Handy Pack bottle

Monday, 16 August 2010

Garafalo Pasta. Truly Authentic, Truly Tasty

We adore pasta though I tend to eat the fresh varieties, I have always felt it to be more authentic, despite knowing its made in the UK mainly, but I kid myself I am eating pasta that is closest to its Italian roots.

I have dried pasta in the cupboard on reserve for the days when I don't get out to the shop, but have not used it frequently of late as it always seems bland, plastic like, a yellow unnatural colour that does not appeal.

I watched Jamie Oliver Does Italy series a while back on Channel 4, in many of the shows where he was cooking for the Italian hosts, he used dried pasta. This set me thinking that in the homeland of the great staple, if a chef serves it, it must be better than I thought. I still knew I needed to find a better pasta though.

It did not take me too long, I was sent Garafalo pasta to review, I received spaghetti, a lovely large tubed rigatoni and some radiatori.

Now firstly let me tell you about what makes it so special.

Garofalo Signature Pasta, crafted in the place Italian pasta was born Gragnano
Garofalo Signature Pasta is created from only the finest durum wheat. In Gragnano, in the shadows of the ruins of Pompeii, Garofalo has been making pasta for more than 300 years combining the art and skill of traditional Neapolitan pasta making with the latest technology to create artisan style pasta without equal.

Garofalo carefully adjusts a separate drying temperature for each individual cut of pasta for optimal texture, aesthetic and performance. Garofalo will make at least 25 quality checks for each cut of their pasta before they allow it to carry the signature name.

One look at the packet and I could see a creamy golden colour, it looks natural. It smells natural as you take it from the packet, the packaging itself is attractive, it looks freshly wrapped and has Italian text, all adding to the feeling this just hasn't got the tag "Italian" but is the real deal.

I decided to put it straight to the test, I made my Italian meat sauce, steak mince full of fresh tomatoes, peppers, garlic  basil and mixed herbs, I cooked the Rigatoni and decided to mix it all together so that the sauce coated and blended with the thick tubes.

The finished dish is below and it looked good,   the  pasta was natural tasting, as if fresh almost, it tasted better than the fresh I buy at the supermarket. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the pasta was large enough so you could catch the taste without the sauce.

I decided to try the spaghetti the next day and made my Carbonara, which possibly is not the standard recipe, but is cooked to suit our palate.

I add garlic, rosemary, onion, cream and because I feel a little guilty going cream all the way, I use half fat Creme fraiche too. Lots of Parmesan to finish

I tried some of the spaghetti after it was cooked on its own, it really has a flavour that I like, very natural. Pasta is  a background to fabulous sauces, but I do enjoy the taste on its own so maybe with a sprinkling of cheese and fresh basil, this would allow the pasta to shine.

Conor does not eat potatoes very often, often choosing pasta instead with his meals, he loves Garafalo and has asked if we can swap to this all the time. 

It was superb with the carbonara and I heartily recommend you give it a go.

It is slightly dearer that say a supermarket brand but its well worth the cost as its a very authentic taste.

Buy online at Ocado

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Grimy Great Britain uncovered by Boost Your Wash

Now I am one for the theory, a little dirt never did any harm and actually builds a bit of immunity and resistance to common bugs.

I do love a clean kitchen and bathroom. The  hygiene methods that became instilled early on were drummed into me by a stern Home Economics teacher who spent the first part of our coursework showing us pictures of bacteria and mould and turning every stomach in the classroom.

It served to keep me cleaning and understanding the reasons for it, but not being obsessive about clutter and occasional mess, life is for living after all.

I possibly am like most people and like clean sheets and clothes, or so I thought.

The following is what I recently read by a study from Boost Your Wash and it made me shudder a good few times, do a bit of excessive head scratching and feel like jumping in the shower, despite the one I had already had.

The UK is a filthy nation, but we’re not talking dirt and grime in the street, this is the dirt and grime on your sheets. 

5000 adults were questioned about their laundry habits for a study commissioned by Boost Your Wash, a brand new washing enhancer.

Nearly one in ten adults admit to only cleaning their bed linen every couple of months, or when they have a good reason.

A further 25% of the UK only wash their sheets once a month leaving dead skin, saliva and worse... to fester for 30 days and 30 nights. 

When it comes to washing our smalls, we don’t! Nearly a quarter of men (24%) admit to wearing their pants or boxers more than once without washing; 20% of them do so on a regular basis and 6% always do it! 

Women may be keeping their ‘undies’ clean, but they are not without dirty secrets, wearing their bras on average four times before washing. But a scary 8% of women wear a bra ten times or more before reaching for the detergent.

Louise Perry, Boost Your Wash spokesperson said, “In today’s society we are all so busy that it seems people prefer to squirt than rinse! 62% of people we surveyed masked the smell of unwashed clothes with perfume or aftershave”

The research has revealed the Top 20 Dirtiest Cities by ranking them according to how infrequently bed linen and underwear was washed; and how reliant on perfume or aftershave residents were to disguise unpleasant odours:

Top 20 Dirtiest cities
1. Leicester      11. Norwich
2. Birmingham     12. Coventry
3. Stoke-on-Trent 13. Wolverhampton
4. Manchester     14. Belfast
5. Aberdeen       15. St Albans
6. Bristol        16. Newcastle Upon Tyne
7. Leeds          17. Chester
8. Cardiff        18. Derby
9. London         19. Nottingham
10. Cambridge     20. Bradford

Yes, Leicester is the city has topped the dirtiest poll but maybe it’s not surprising when the research also revealed that one in twenty residents doesn’t put a wash on every week.

But the research doesn’t just point the finger at Leicester.

Louise Perry, Boost Your Wash spokesperson continues: “A worrying 8% of the population don’t even bother with a laundry basket and ditch dirty garments on the floor instead demonstrating we are getting lazy with our laundry.”

20% of the UK only put a washing load on when the laundry basket is overflowing or 7% wait until they have run out of pants! 

Louise Perry, Boost Your Wash spokesperson adds “As a nation we are washing on lower and lower temperatures, 78% choose to wash on 40 degrees or less, which is great for the environment, but also provides a great environment for germs to breed. Washing at 40 degrees or below just isn’t a hot enough temperature to kill all germs and bacteria.”

But it’s not just germs rearing their ugly heads; the survey also revealed that washing is the cause of rows with 29% admitting to arguing over the laundry. 

But be warned, 5% who took extreme measures and actually broke up with someone because they didn’t wash their clothes and sheets enough.

Now I reached for the Boost Your Wash pretty sharpish, it has crossed my mind that washing at lower temperatures may be great for the environment, but when I have two sporty children who get mucky and sweaty, a husband who goes out in shirt and tie, but has often been a technical advisor in a sewerage plant it may be too low.  

Its a sturdy little cleaner, presented in a reassuringly sturdy little bottle. You are advised to put 1-2 capfulls in with your fave detergent. The first time I used one cap, it had great results and I will probably stick with that for most washes that need that extra boost.

Boost Your Wash will get your clothes stain free, germ free, odour free and generally give you a helping hand with the laundry.

Boost Your Wash is a laundry enhancer with a unique formula, which is designed to transform your favourite washing detergent into a power cleaner, even at 30 degrees. Designed to work in partnership with washing powders, liquids or tablets, Boost Your Wash is the perfect addition to any laundry load when it needs an extra ‘boost' to remove stubborn stains, grime, smells and nasty nightmares!

One in five washes needs an extra helping hand, whether it be to shift stains, kill germs or remove odours, Boost Your Wash containing antibacterial properties can solve all of these issues.

Go to for further details.

I did like the extra insurance from Boost Your Wash that I am getting clothes not just looking clean but also physically clean. It work well on grass stained running kit, great for sweat smells. Paige also had a fight with some ketchup and lost, it was removed with no problems at all, due I believe to the extra capful of Boost Your Wash

To know that its also removing germs makes me feel so much cleaner and the shudders will soon subside!

Holts Tyreweld - The Spare Wheel in a Can.

OK  do you need this?

 With more than 32 million cars on British roads and 28 percent of motorists having suffered a puncture or flat tyre in the last twelve months, this means the average motorist has a one in four chance of developing a puncture, I would say  that there possibly is a good chance.
Add to that the chance that you never got around to replacing the other flat tyre in the boot and or you can't actually change a tyre.

I say this as a woman who does know how to now, a road trip with a friend and a overheating  radiator, many service station stops, frazzled nerves because we were not sure what we were doing, jeering men.It was like a road to Damascus revelation, well St Albans that we both saw we could learn the basics!!

Often, it is too dangerous to change a tyre at the side of a road and recent research has revealed that 81 percent of women motorists are unable to change a tyre should the inevitable happen.

So this is where Holts Tyreweld becomes your friend,  it works by sealing and inflating punctured tyres instantly making it simple, quick and easy to use, putting the driver back on the road within minutes.

A must have for the boot of any vehicle, every road journey will be worry free as the emergency repair product lends a safe, quick option for a puncture repair when a full tyre change isn’t an option. 

With its unique automatic transfer valve, Holts Tyreweld enables the user to leave the product to work its magic, making it even safer to use. The water based latex formula will not damage the tyre and can be easily repaired at any of the 204 National Tyres and Autocare branches in the UK, which Tyreweld uses for its after sales service for added peace of mind, ensuring a hassle free permanent repair.

For more information about Holts Lloyd products visit

I went to have a look at the Holts website for more info The info on the Holts website says their formula is 100% compatible with all tyres whether new or thing reading the testimonials make me confident that this is an invaluable addition to your boot.

On the 14th of November 2009,I was in Snowdonia,rather further away from an A road than I would prefer to be, when I suffered a puncture in my rear offside tyre. Far from home (approx 40 miles) and out of sight of even a light in the distance, I remembered that my wife had bought me one of your Tyreweld cans as a little joke,(don’t ask me why,she thought it was funny.) It was in the boot of my car.(Correction,thank God it was in the boot of my car!!) It was easy to use,the instructions were clear , and I was on my way within 30 minutes. Do you remember what the weather was like on that day? Hell in a hand basket was what it was that day. Your simple device, for no other words describe it accurately,saved me from extraordinary inconvenience, (my spare was flat),considerable expense,(I am a care worker,and not well off,) and got me home when, for a moment, I thought I would be sleeping in my car.

Holts may count on my CONSIDERABLE WARMTH AND AFFECTION, PROBABLY for the rest of my days. HELL, IT WORKS!!!!!!!!

Again, Thank you,

Gary A.

Holt’s Tyreweld 400ml is priced at £8.99 and available from Halfords, Tesco, Asda and all good car care accessory outlets.


Woman with Backache

I have been suffering with back ache for five days now, apart from backache when pregnant and after overdoing it in the garden, I have been blessed with no trouble at all before. I sympathise with people who complain of it, but never really felt their pain before today.

It started as mild ache on Sunday, by Monday I could hardly move without this immense sharp agonising pain coursing along my side and as its progressed into my spine, so I think its not sciatica.

I have read up advice and based on being a patient at a doctors that now don't see anybody for at least 2 weeks and vet all calls for people wanting to be seen by the on call Dr. This involves them ringing and asking symptoms and telling you to call back in a few days if its persisting. Very helpful...ummmm it wasn't.

So do I keep moving, rest it. pain relief just seems to be masking it. Any great tips out there from my fellow sufferers in arms (backs) for what is a common complaint and boy have I been complaining?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

VoucherHub Search Thousands of Discounts..... Recommended

I was asked to give a review of Voucher Hub , I found this a fab way to spend an afternoon, you see VoucherHub speak directly to my heart as they offer vouchers discount codes and promotional codes.
Chris often raises/rolls his eyes at my frugal ways but has also complimented me on my savings.
I now do shop online a great deal, I find it quicker, stress free and often cheaper, especially when I fall upon a discount code. Its so satisfying to get something without the wear and tear on boot leather and doubly satisfying to find a great discount too.

One of the frustrating things is spending ages trawling for a discount, adding it at checkout only to find it expired.

VoucherHub remove all this with clear expiry dates and a great little tick box to let them know it worked or not. So they can update and keep discounts rolling in without the frustration of dead codes.

What also impressed was the huge list of companies to choose from and with not to be sniffed at discounts.
Just a short browse and I found Additions direct discount codes an Asos coupon 20%, I found one for 20 % off maxi dresses too

Debenhams discount codes (Debenhams have a free delivery on there at the moment), Ebay, Littlewoods to name but a few.

Another nice find was the restaurant discounts, now these are fab for grabbing a nice treat when hungry. We still like to dine out or have takeaway but find in recession hit times its a little pricey.

VoucherHub help here too, there are Dominoes discounts codes, I found one here for 25% off spend of over £20.

A very hefty saving with a Pizza Express voucher (I recommend the Calabrese)
You can get a 2 Course Menu For Only £10!!!!

So you don't miss out on any discounts you can follow them on Twitter and also Facebook, plus sign up for a weekly digest.
I wholeheartedly recommend VoucherHub for ease of use and lovely tasty discounts.

Food Glorious Food

The National Trust has announced and organised a selection of new events and activities to be enjoyed by families around the UK during the summer as part of its Food Glorious Food campaign.Food Glorious Foodis a National Trust campaign to celebrate and promote sustainably produced local, seasonal and home-grown food.

From May through to October 2010 there's a programme of events across the country, from farmer’s markets and tasting days to kitchen garden demonstrations, seed planting and cookery workshops. Plus, over 100 participating National Trust properties will be giving away free plug plants and vegetable seeds to visitors as part of an initiative to help families to grow their own food.

Each event lasts for at least a day so could be used for a few days outduring the summer. The events being hosted by the National Trust are spread over the UK so there are plenty of places to visit.

These events are part of a campaign to encourage families to find out more about their national heritage and to make the most of what is around them whether it would be plants or food, offering an alternative to spending more money in shops than is necessary. Some events may require a small additional event charges on top of the normal admission fee.

About National Trust:The National Trust cares for 300 inspiring historic houses and gardens across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. From former workers' cottages to the most iconic stately homes, and from mines and mills to theatres and inns, the stories of people and their heritage are at the heart of everything it does. People of all ages, individuals, schools and communities, get involved each year with its projects, events and working holidays and over 61,000 volunteers help to bring the properties alive for the Trust's 3.7 million members.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Oxo Y Peeler - Limited Edition for Christmas

I have just been trying out the new Y peeler from Oxo.

OXO celebrates 20 years of universal design with the launch of a limited edition red Y peeler just in time for Christmas

Cinnamon and spice may be well and nice, but how about a limited edition red Y peeler from American housewares specialist, OXO, to really add some cheer this festive season?

The ingenious gadget gurus at OXO have launched an exclusive red Y peeler just in time for Christmas that even Rudolph would be keen to get his hooves on.

Available in the UK for a limited period only, the new red Y peeler is a celebratory take on OXO’s best-selling UK product. With a blade almost as sharp as a samurai sword and a trademark soft-grip, non-slip handle, the fiery red Y peeler marks 20 years of universal design and two decades of innovation within the housewares industry.

Try it on potatoes or root vegetables to peel away a wafer thin layer of skin in an instant or challenge the strength of the blades to the tougher outer layer of tropical fruit such as mango or papaya. There’s no fear of strain from repetitive peeling when tackling mountains of parsnips and carrots on Christmas Day and you can update your kitchen utensil collection in an instant with a bold blast of colour and cheer.

Price: £5.50•

The peelers were the first ever tools to be developed by Sam Farber and have been in the range since the company’s inception.

• The Y peeler is OXO’s most popular and best selling tool

• Over 100,000 Y peelers are sold in the UK each year

• The sharp, stainless steel blade is designed to remove between 0.8-1 millimetre of peel to retain the maximum amount of vitamins and nutrients that lay just under the skin

• OXO’s Y peeler loves the limelight and can be found on all major TV channels in the hands of professional and celebrity chefs

The OXO story began back in 1990 when retired entrepreneur Sam Farber was on holiday in France with his wife Betsey. After witnessing his wife’s struggle with everyday kitchen gadgets due to a mild case of arthritis, he was inspired to develop a range of tools that were easy to use for the largest spectrum of people.

Working with a noted gerontologist and an old friend and colleague from Smart Design, Sam created a range of universally designed tools that were not only wonderfully comfortable and easy to use, but would transcend generations and change the face of housewares for good.

After hundreds of models, dozens of design iterations and extensive user-based research, OXO launched its first collection of 15 tools in the US. Since then the range has become a household name and has grown extensively from this original product line of 15 tools to now over 750 household gadgets, all of which offer a simple yet stylish solution to everyday tasks.

OXO’s innovative thinking, rigorous development process and unique design continues to raise the bar for household tools today. From the kitchen to the bathroom, pantry to the nursery, OXO has it covered and now even the next generation of little diners will have an OXO tool in their hand with the launch of the eagerly anticipated OXO TOT.

OXO’s trademark rubber grip handle is synonymous with the brand and is what makes the tools so easy and comfortable to use. Made from Santoprene rubber, the ergonomically-designed black rubber handle provides the ultimate in comfort and style. The grip moulds to each individual hand, cushioning the grip, and gives the maximum amount of comfort to anyone who uses it.

Designed to make everyday living that little bit easier, the OXO range offers over 200 stylish, yet practical tools for the home including kitchenware, organisational tools and cleaning products.

I can attest to the sharpness of the blade, I whizzed through my peeling today, Paige had a go and was so impreesed she took over...result, thanks Oxo. She said it was the best peeler she has tried and wants to take it to school for her GCSE DT classes as it will halve peeling for her exams.

I love the red little wonder and Oxo have certainly added a little more festive cheer to the annual Christmas dinner peeling marathon.

TK Maxx New Store opens in London

A brand new TK Maxx store is set to open its doors on Gracechurch Street, London EC3 in the heart of the City this October (2010) creating 95 new jobs. This new TK Maxx store will feature over 14,000 sq ft of famous label fashion, shoes and accessories for men and women - all at up to 60% off the RRP.

The TK Maxx concept is simple. TK Maxx buyers shop the world all year round and negotiate great deals to bring customers designer and famous brands at a fraction of normal retail prices. With a modern and stylish, but no frills store environment, further savings can be passed on to customers. A typical TK Maxx store stocks an average 50,000 items with daily deliveries bringing up to 10,000 new items to store every week so customers will always find a constantly fresh and exciting mix of top brands and great quality at the lowest prices, every time they visit.

Commenting on the new Gracechurch Street store, TK Maxx spokesperson, Helen Gunter said:“We are very excited to be opening up a new store and bringing London’s City shoppers savings of up to 60% off the RRP on a wide choice of ever-changing brands and labels. This store has a boutiquey feel to create a more intimate shopping experience that's in keeping with a smaller store environment. While shoppers will still find the same big choice of high street and designer fashion and accessories at up to 60% off the RRP, we hope they will also love the little touches we've added with the City shopper in mind."

TK Maxx also sells online, offering designer shoes, dresses, handbags & more.

New Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief + Whitening

I was sent the new Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief + Whitening, now this is an easy review as I have been buying and already very sold on Colgate Sensitive Pro Pelief since it first launched>

I was given a sample of the original non whitening paste at the BBC Good Food show last year and tried the test of putting a little on a problem tooth to see the effect. Its a brilliant product, really if you have managed to avoid all the ads on TV and still have your reservations, believe me when I say this really does give relief!

I do suffer with teeth sensitivity from time to time and also have a molar that has lost surrounding bone, so when I am eating, occasionally when I bite down too hard it causes a lot of pain. The tooth itself is fine and my dentist advised that it could remain as long as I was happy to put up with the intermittent pain.

So when I first got hold of the original Pro Relief I slapped it on the tooth, now, nearly a year on, I have not had one twinge and sensitivity is a long distant memory.

My dentist is now recommending Colgate and I happily promote it to anybody who listens.

My only bugbear was that I still like a whitening toothpaste so have been using one in addition.

So when I was sent the Sensitive Pro Relief + Whitening I was so happy, its now ticking all my toothpaste boxes, it does whiten well, my teeth look brighter and feel great too. So until they make a nice liquid that I can just gargle and it cleans teeth stops pain, with no two minute brushing I am hanging onto this, well one can dream!

Just some info about it in case you have missed it on TV and at your dentist, where have you been??

New with fluoride. Rapid & Lasting Relief.

Clinically proven PRO-ARGIN™ FORMULA.

Freedom to forget about the pain of sensitive teeth! In a gentle whitening formula.

Where does sensitive tooth pain come from?
Receding gums and damage to your enamel can expose thousands of microscopic channels which lead to your tooth's nerve centre. When your teeth make contact with something hot, cold or sweet, sensations are carried down these channels directly to the nerves, causing pain. These exposed areas of the teeth can also be prone to discolouration.

How does Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ + Whitening work?
Most other sensitive toothpastes primarily numb the pain.
Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ works by plugging the channels that lead to sensitive tooth nerves, to block the pain.
With regular use, it builds a long-lasting protective barrier that acts like a seal against sensitivity.
Its low abrasive formula gently and effectively removes stains, helping to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth.

An exclusive Pro-Argin™ formula with a new technology that dental professionals have started using on their patients to provide sensitivity relief.
CE Mark - European Conformance

Femibion - A glowing report!

School holidays are in full swing and I am loving it but am all too aware that juggling work and being a mum full time very much takes an inordinate amount of energy.

Plus at this time of the year am looking forward to my holidays and want to look my best too, so my first thoughts run to my skin looking good. I know, i know vanity again!!!
I do try and drinks lots of water, rest as much as possible, as I don't want to turn up on holiday looking like I needed one months ago!!

I was asked to try two products for Seven Seas called Femibion. These are specifically designed for women's health and both target the needs I outlined above.

So guess which ones I tried first, the most pressing??? Energy levels?? ....nope, I went for vanity, my skin.

It is called Femibion Radiance. A range of vitamins for good health, with Zinc, Niacin and Vitamin C. As well as the usual vitamins and minerals, the Radiance version also contains grapeseed and linseed oils, now my interest was full on as I know the skin and hair benefits of linseed oil, known to help even with sunburn and the benefits showing in a few days. I am miles happier to take in tablet form, these would be 1 capsule a day.

They are a food supplement and so easy to take for me as I tend to forget to take vitamins normally, but I have these next to the cereal and have been taking each day regularly.

I am at day 17 and have a definite glow to my skin, I can't say radiant yet, but I look more revitalised as if I have had good sleep and water, all the things that usually lapse with me. I say "can't say radiant" as I have had a back complaint and this has cut into my sleep the last few nights only, but enough to make me tired.
However I don't overly look haggard and exhausted, instead my skin seems smooth, soft plumper, I believe this is definitely due to the Femibion radiance tablets.

I am keen to take the Femibion Energetic Mum after too, given that these sound as good. If they work as well, I will be zipping around and Paige and Conor won't be able to keep up with me.

Seven Seas Femibion "Energetic Mum" is the first multi-nutrient probiotic specifically formulated to provide nutritional support for busy mums.

The daily food supplement ensures mums' diet is at its best, and helps them to stay healthy and energised throughout busy days.

Independent research has shown that the specially selected probiotics helps support the body’s natural defense system while CoQ10 helps the body to release energy, keeping energy levels stable and helping mums to wake up feeling raring to go and ready to face the activities of the day!

I wanted to check the effects of each as a separate supplement so I could review properly.

So glad I took the Radiance first now, as by the time I am away, my hair and skin should be glowing and the holiday will just add to the effect! Oh and I do feel quite lively with them too.

Femibion are available to buy from Boots, Tesco and other pharmacies.

For further information on any of the Femibion range please visit

Friday, 6 August 2010

Topshop unveils exclusive collection designed by up-and-coming fashion star Mark Fast

Topshop has unveiled Mark Fast’s first capsule collection. The high-impact five piece knitwear collection echoes the aesthetics of Mark's mainline label, featuring his trademark intricate knitwear and sexy skin-revealing panels.

Mark was inspired by sleek exotic birds for his collection for Topshop, particularly the shimmer of their wings and the movement of their feathers as they fly. This references his SS09 mainline collection, his first collection following his graduation from Central Saint Martins which captured the attention of the international fashion press.

Mark Fast is a Canadian born knitwear designer. His work is often inspired by the endless possibilities of lycra yarns, sculpting areas of tension and areas of volume over the body. He is also obsessed with texture, and the relationship between garments and the wearer's body. All these things are evident in his latest exclusive work for Topshop.

The star of this five piece collection is a body-conscious high-impact dress which is heavily embellished with matte rubberised beads, adding weight and drama to the fine knitwear. A knitted skirt in dark grey hugs the hips, whilst a one-shoulder dress in pale pink is subtle and understated.

The Mark Fast collection is concluded with a lilac-grey crochet dress covered in tiny holes, so as to appear moth-eaten, and a black sleeveless mid-length dress.

The collection is available from Topshop stores in Oxford Circus, Liverpool and Manchester Arndale as well as through the Topshop website.

About Topshop: Topshop was established in 1964 and is part of Arcadia Group Ltd. Sir Philip Green became owner of Arcadia Group Ltd in 2002.

Hot Turkey Salad from Loseley

If you’re bored with the usual Christmas turkey leftover staples of sandwiches and rissoles, this light, easy recipe will refresh your taste buds in minutes. Hot Turkey Salad combines the cooked meat with succulent smoky bacon, juicy mushrooms, healthy spinach and delicious Loseley Summer Meadow Butter in a dish that can be eaten as a satisfying main course or, by halving the quantities, a moreish starter or stylish supper. Leftover turkey need never be lacklustre again!

10 minutes preparation time

15-20 minutes cooking time

305 Kcal per portion
16.6g fat per portion
7.5g sat fat

Serves 4

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 25g (1oz)
Onion 1, peeled and cut into thin wedges
Button Mushrooms 110g (40z)
Smoked streaky bacon 6 rashers
Cooked turkey 250g (12oz), diced
Red wine vinegar 2tbsp
Sherry 3 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Water or baby spinach leaves 75g-150g packet

1. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion for 3-4minutes until it starts to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until they start to crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Cut the bacon rashers in half and roll them up. Add the bacon rolls to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the vinegar, sherry and seasoning, then return the onion and mushrooms to the pan.

3. Arrange the spinach leaves on individual plates and spoon the turkey mixture on top/ Spoon over the juices from the pan to warm the leaves slightly and serve immediately.

Cooks Tip If you like wilted leaves, stir the spinach into the hot pan with the turkey mixture just before serving.

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter is packed in a 250 gram tub and costs £1.19p.Loseley Chilled Foods are available from the chilled cabinet of local independent grocers, Morrisons, Waitrose and now Iceland.

Visit for more information.

While you are waiting for the nights to draw in and the turkey to be fattening, you can still enjoy the creamy fresh taste of Loseley while you are waiting. As I did this lunchtime.
Bon Appetit!

Palmolive Nutra.Fruit shower crèmes - Luxury

Palmolive Nutra.Fruit shower crèmes
I think my hot water bill may be rising at the moment, I received the new range from Palmolive and I couldn't wait to actually put them to the test.
Firstly I was taken with the colour and style of the packaging and its contents. A nicely shaped bottle. Swirls of colour indicating the fruit encased in a thick crème. They appealed to my other need which Chris thinks is odd, maybe you will too.

I like a bathroom product to look good, fit well with the decor in my bathroom, not be garish or indeed pale and uninteresting, sort of like me I like to think!!!

I looked at them all, mandarin, kiwi and pomegranate and knew if I was lucky these would be great just for the scent alone, I love citrus the most, any type, eating , bathing, perfume. So for the mandarin I was hoping for great things and would be my first shower.

Before I lead you into the steamy paradise I also like that this is a moisturising crème.

I grew up with Palmolive in the bathroom, and recall watching the Palmolive soap ads that always promised soft skin, creamy and moisturising. One called called Cleopatra that intimated perfect creamy skin of an Egyptian ruler, so Palmolive for me has to be living up to its soap history.

This is also what Palmolive have to say:

Add a bit of luxury to your bathroom routine with Palmolive Nutra.Fruit shower crèmes. Palmolive Nutra.Fruit are a new and uniquely appetising collection of indulgent shower crèmes, enriched with moisturising cream and swirled with deliciously tempting fruit extracts. The range is available in three tantalising variants:

Exquisite kiwi to refresh and revitalise
Zesty mandarin to energise and rejuvenate
Exotic pomegranate to pamper and nourish

Your skin will be enveloped in fresh fruit fragrances and left feeling soft and radiant; an indulgent shower experience that’s so pleasurable you’ll want to repeat it again and again.

Well the mandarin was gorgeous Palmolive have it exactly right as far as the natural fruit aroma is concerned, its as if you have peeled a mandarin. I could smell it straight away as I squeezed into my hands, the swirls of orange and crème looked luxurious, I spread over my legs first, the dry part of my body, It was definitely moisturising, I shaved and rinsed and my legs felt good. Finishing washing my only negative was that the mandarin could be a bit more stronger and zingy in fragrance, just more mandarin for me all round.

Next one to try was the Kiwi, loving the taste and aroma too of Kiwi, I was again looking forward to it. It was cool almost to the feel, fresh and still moisturizing and pampering. It also reminded me of cucumber almost, that summery fresh green experience! It again was a natural fragrance and fitted well in the range.

The Pomegranate I tried last, a gorgeous pinky red swirl. I was not sure I was going to like it scent wise , I love the actual fruit, drink a fair amount of it , I like the sweet taste although I am not overly fond of sweet beauty products, this one was heady, rich and fruity, again like the pomegranate.
It seemed the most luxurious in both the scent and feel on the skin, not sure why, but this one appeared to condition my skin the most.

Concerning the moisturising all three nourished my skin, I left my arms without my usual daily body lotion and they were good, soft and supple, my legs did still feel dry but as I said they do need a good body lotion. I only added moisturising lotion late on in the afternoon to my arms, so if you are in a rush or do not have particularly dry skin, it works well as a softening product.

So in conclusion, they look great in your bathroom, smell naturally fruity, moisturise as promised and make for a fab shower experience indeed!

The Palmolive Nutra.Fruit range is available from Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s
. RRSP 200ml: £1.99

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Christmas Goes Crackers with Waldo Pancake

Christmas is set to include a little more festive fun this year thanks to a new range of lifestyle accessories by Waldo Pancake. The brightly coloured products are emblazoned with quirky, ironic messages such as ‘Snappy slogan goes here’ and ‘Live. Believe. Worry a bit’. The eccentric range is full of great gifts for him, for her and for anyone that likes a good giggle – t’is the season to be jolly, after all!

Paige and I are the family stationary addicts.
One Christmas her Christmas wish list had five items on it.
Gel Pens
Card for making cards
Pencil Case

I had good fun shopping for her and she had great delight opening crafty kits, diaries, pen packs and obviously more prezzies than she asked for. She still adds stationary to her Christmas wish lists and I still love shopping for them and adding a new item or two to my office needs!

We love the more unusual items, funnier the better for me and as Paige gets older, so her sense of humour similar to mine is developing to like sarcasm and witty quotes.

So when Waldo Pancake sent me a small selection of their Christmas gifts we oohed and ahhed more than most maybe would.

These actually would make great back to school gifts and also teachers thank you gifts.
I particularly love the notebook with "Caution: contents might be boring." In quality its very good a hardback journal type notebook with ample pages, Chris tried to pinch the book for his car notepad as he is on the road all day and constantly stopping to take a call and details for work.

Other funny is the magnet which brightly states and may I say refreshing in its wisdom "The perfect rubbish gift!"

The price range is great starting at 85p for a pencil, the ones we were sent say "Rest behind ear then look for" and "You'll miss me when I'm gone" so true.

Store your Christmas treats in the tin inscribed with ‘Biscuits *unless eaten’ and don’t forget to use the ‘Service not included’ apron whilst baking. You can serve eggnog in the range of Waldo Pancake mugs that include phrases such as ‘Do ahh after every sip,’ ‘Tea. Coffee. Spider’ and ‘Upside down mug design.’ Plus, you can use your ‘Beach towel for a cat’ tea towel for any spillages.

Every girl needs a merry make-over for Christmas party season so don’t forget your Waldo Pancake compact mirror and make-up bag emblazoned with ‘Contents: my face’ – so true! You are going to need your beauty sleep after all those festive parties; The Waldo Pancake Eye Mask includes the phrase ‘Does my nose look big in this?’

The Waldo Pancake range contains all the stationery your secret-Santa could need, along with some funny lines to make you chuckle. The bright pink pencil case contains the phrase ‘Pencil case (use as v. small pillow)’ – we’ve all been there! The brightly coloured notebooks are guaranteed to liven up your Christmas thank you notes with a variety of snappy slogans such as ‘Stupid little notes’ and ‘To do or not to do.’ The colourful products also include rubbers, rulers, pens and pencils.

Seasonal snowfall may disrupt your Winter getaway but the Waldo Pancake travel accessories are sure to brighten up your journey. Travel products include several different styles of bag inscribed with such phrases as ‘Carrying stuff around is the new leaving it where it is’ and ‘I so don’t have enough stuff’. There are also passport holders and luggage tags adorned with ‘Are we nearly there yet?’

The Waldo Pancake range includes key rings, purses, badges and much, much more. The range is available from Really Good, a publisher of amusing cards, gifts and lifestyle products. The Waldo Pancake range is available from Prices start from £0.85 (pencil) to £19.99 (handbag).